As has been noted here in the recent past, it isn't just government entities that are a little slow on the uptake when it comes to identifying radical Muslim preachers as accessories to terrorism - it's also the media. Consider the case of Anwar al-Awlaki, a man who has consistently shown ties to terrorist attacks, yet who had gone predominantly under the media radar as nothing more than a simple cleric.
Also consider the curious case of one Yasir Qadhi, a man recently interviewed by CNN for a sympathetic look at the failed underwear bomber, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab. A man who has apparently escaped background investigations by both CNN and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). (H/t the Jawa Report)
How else to explain CNN's representation of Qadhi as a simple, orthodox teacher of Islam, who had no idea of the extremist views of AbdulMutallab? And how else to explain the baffling decision by the NCTC to utilize Qadhi in its deradicalization efforts?
What, you might ask, is wrong with presenting this man as a moderate teacher of ‘the nuts and bolts of Islam?'
Well, for starters, he is - by his own admission - a proud member of the U.S. terror watch list, and an instructor at an institution so extreme in their teachings, that an anti-terror consultant once dubbed the school ‘Jihad U.'
Find out more about the man CNN presents as an innocent professor of Islam after the break...
The CNN interview links the underwear bomber, AbdulMutallab, to Yasir Qadhi via a 16 day conference held in 2008 to teach young Muslims "the nuts and bolts of Islam." The conference, known as an Islamic Knowledge Fest, was simply harmless we are led to believe, teaching young Muslims of "orthodox Islam for the 21st Century," and nothing more than "mainstream Islamic stuff." In fact, Qadhi is portrayed as the antithesis of the underwear bomber, expressing a bit of astonishment as to how the individual he knew could have ever developed into the extremist he has become.
This conference however was organized by the Al Maghrib Institute where Qadhi is the Dean of Academic Affairs, an establishment not exactly known for its mainstream teachings. In fact it had earned the nickname ‘Jihad U' by anti-terrorism consultant, Patrick Poole, who in 2007 voiced his concern that their Islamic studies program was preaching "messages of religious extremism, racial bigotry and advocacy of jihad and militancy."
The following list confirms those thoughts, and apparently is what passes as ‘mainstream Islamic stuff' these days:
- Holocaust denial always seems to be a favorite of terrorists, and Qadhi is no exception. In a 2001 lecture Yasir Qadhi highly recommends that listeners read a book known as the Hoax of the Holocaust, urging them to ‘look up yourself what Hitler really wanted to do.'
- Qadhi served as a guest speaker at a conference organized by the Islam Channel, who's Chief Executive Officer was convicted terrorist Mohamed Ali Harrath.
- Qadhi is an ardent defender of Dr. Ali al-Timimi, convicted of inciting terrorism via the Virginia Jihad Network. The good doctor urged his followers to take up arms against U.S. troops shortly after the 9/11 tragedy.
Perhaps we need a new color, as the red flags consistently being thrown up concerning terrorists, their preachers, and their teachers, aren't being readily recognized by the media or the government.
CNN also misses the boat with the following statement:
"Qadhi says there was no indication AbdulMutallab in 2008 was extreme in his views."
But the Times Online indicates that there was plenty of indication that AbdulMutallab had certainly developed close ties to the terrorist (not cleric) Anwar al-Awlaki as early as 2007, and that U.S. counter-terrorism authorities believe his radicalization started during a period between 2005 and 2008.
So much for the NCTC's deradicalization program - it appears Qadhi has developed more of a post-radicalization reputation.
But hey, he's just a simple professor of Islam. Words themselves can do no harm, they are not actual acts of terrorism.
Just ask the media about their handling of the simple ‘cleric' al-Awlaki.
Nothing to see here...